Your Stuttering Pace

I don’t get to watch much (any, really) college basketball here in Saudi. But I know it’s March, and it’s almost time for the Madness. Basketball always gets me thinking about pacing. When you watch a game, you’ll almost always hear the commentators talk about who’s dictating the pace. Who’s trying to slow things down or speed things up. That things are getting out of control, so one team calls a timeout.

Nobody who stutters likes to be told to “slow down.” I think it’s stupid advice, too. But what I want is to move at my own pace.

And sometimes I want to stop.

And take a breath.

And then think.

And then take another breath.

Then think about what my speech therapist told me. Then think about my message.

And then let out my words at a comfortable pace. Not too fast, not too slow.

Very often we’re caught in a much faster, higher pressure situation than we’re comfortable with. But is it really? Ordering at the fast food counter during the lunch rush is high pressure? Seriously? Those people behind you can wait. If you give part of your order and are asked, “and?and?and?” You don’t have to rush out a response. What are they going to do if you take a few extra seconds? Kick you out? Don’t forget about the guy in front of you who stared at the menu for five minutes before figuring out what to order. And he was fluent! Do you think he cared about holding up the line? No.

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